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UP Police to expand cyber crime wings following spurt in online frauds

Taking note of the growing cases of online frauds, the Uttar Pradesh government has decided to set up a multi-tiered specialised cyber wing that would taper down to the police station level.

The cyber cells would investigate a gamut of online frauds involving e-commerce, digital currency (such as bitcoin), credit cards and e-wallets.

The wing would have a presence at police stations, districts, zones and headquarters for effective investigation of online crimes and speedy disposal of such cases.

UP Director General of Police, O P Singh, has instructed senior police officials, including zonal additional DGPs, inspectors general of police and range deputy IGs, senior superintendent of police (SSP) and SPs to complete the preliminary rollout of the cyber cells by October 15.

The cyber wing would have a ‘cyber crime team’ at the police station, manned by a police inspector, a sub inspector and two head constables. It would investigate cases of frauds involving ATM, credit card, e-wallet, fake profile and password hacking.

Similarly, the district cyber crime cell would handle more serious online offences, such as ecommerce, fake Twitter handle, website defacement and prizes/lotteries.

A cyber crime investigation team and a cyber crime support team would also function at the district level to assist the local cyber cells. They would each have four police personnel — an inspector, a sub-inspector and two head constables. The cell would also monitor the social media platforms for possible misuse and targetting of gullible users. The cell would further organise interactive programmes in schools and colleges to create awareness among students on the topic of cyber offences.

As per the cyber wing roadmap, crime branch assistant SP/deputy SP would be the in charge of the district level cyber cell and report to the district SP.

Meanwhile, the cyber cell at the zone level would investigate more complex and grave cyber crimes, including data theft, ransomware, digital/cryptocurrency, dark web, cyber terrorism, online extortion etc. A zonal cyber crime investigation team and a zonal cyber crime support team would assist zonal cyber arms in investigation.

A state-level cyber cell is already operational at the UP Police headquarters, which would monitor the functioning of all zonal, district and police station level arms.

Currently, specialised cyber police stations are functioning at Lucknow and Noida (Gautam Budh Nagar district). Taking cognisance of the growing instances of such of cybercrimes, there is the proposal to set up six more specialised cyber police stations at Agra, Kanpur, Bareilly, Varanasi, Gorakhpur and Prayagraj (Allahabad) to cover all eight police zones. Lucknow and Noida fall under Lucknow and Meerut zone respectively.

Last year, DGP O P Singh had also observed that proliferation of internet had widened the scope of cybercrimes.

Source: Business Standard